By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Bruins rookie camp opens in just three weeks. So here are some notes to whet your appetite:
– Anders Bjork played 30 NHL games as a rookie straight out of Notre Dame last season. But he had his season shortened by a shoulder injury that required surgery Feb. 20.
So it wasn’t a shock to see him on the Bruins’ roster for rookie camp and the subsequent rookie tournament scheduled for Buffalo Sept. 7-10. Multiple sources close to the situation confirmed my suspicion that both Bjork’s camp and the Bruins want him to get back into game action as soon as possible after missing so much time.
Bjork’s timetable for a return was six months and he’s still on schedule. He’s slated to play in the 2018 Stars and Stripes Showdown in Plymouth, Michigan Aug. 26 alongside a star-studded cast of USA Hockey alums in honor of the late Jim Johannson. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is also scheduled to be in the lineup.
Assuming Bjork is medically cleared to play in the rookie challenge in Buffalo, it will give him a chance to shake off the rust, get some contact and gain some confidence before main camp. With the likes of Rasmus Dahlin and other top Buffalo, Pittsburgh and New Jersey prospects expected to play in the tournament, Bjork will be tested.
From there he’ll look to duplicate his main training camp from last season, when he earned a roster spot and went on to get 12 points (four goals, eight assists) before his injury. Bjork will certainly be in the competition for a spot in the top six again after showing he could play well whether he was flanking Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci.
– Forward Jesse Gabrielle, drafted in the fourth round (No. 105) in 2015, and defenseman Victor Berglund, a seventh-round pick (No. 195) in 2017, were left off the rookie camp roster.
Gabrielle is still recovering from a lower-body injury (one source described it as a high-ankle sprain) that kept him from playing in the Memorial Cup with host Regina. The Bruins don’t want him rushing back.
Berglund is battling for a spot with MODO and both sides decided it would be better if the player remained in Sweden.
– Berglund will get some international action later this month. He and Bruins 2018 second-round pick (No. 57) Axel Andersson will represent Sweden in an under-20 four-nation tournament Aug. 24-26.
– Andersson will come over to North America to compete with the Bruins’ rookies. However, it has yet to be determined whether the defenseman will go back to Sweden or stay on this side of the Atlantic, where Kitchener of the OHL owns his CHL rights.
– Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen recently sat out the World Junior Summer Showcase in Canada (along with several other NHL-signed prospects) in order to prepare for his big post-signing training camp. Down the road, though, it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to be loaned to Finland for the WJC this winter in Vancouver, especially if Vaakanainen is playing for Providence in the AHL.
– All signs point to Bruins 2018 sixth-round pick (No. 181) Dustyn McFaul returning to Pickering of the OJHL for the 2018-19 season. He’s scheduled to join the NCAA ranks at Clarkson for the 2019-20 season. The defenseman had 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in 38 games for the Panthers last season.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @MattKalman.